Angas to seek extension approval — again

Angas Securities is hoping that it has found a buyer for Fernhill Estate in New South Wales.
Angas Securities is hoping that it has found a buyer for Fernhill Estate in New South Wales.

INVESTORS in Angas Securities’ troubled $220 million debenture fund will be asked for the third time if the Adelaide-based firm should retain control of the fund’s remaining assets.

Around $132 million remains outstanding to investors, despite a pledge from Angas last August that the money would be repaid by September 30 this year.

Since the August 2016 meeting, just six cents in the dollar has been forthcoming, with around 40 per cent of investors’ outlay now returned.

Acknowledging that it was unable to meet the previously agreed repayment timeline, Angas has sought approval for another investor vote.

“We just need to have that (time) pressure taken off us,” executive chairman Andrew Luckhurst-Smith said.

Tentatively scheduled for August 16, investors will be asked if Angas should be granted an extension to “run-off” the fund. A minimum of 12 months will be requested.

If Angas fails to attain a predetermined quota — likely to be 75 per cent — the fund’s trustee, which has previously labelled the investment firm as insolvent, will appoint a receiver to sell remaining assets.

Angas Securities’ executive chairman Andrew Luckhurst-Smith at the firm’s August 2015 investor meeting, where 90 per cent of votes were in favour of existing management retaining control of its $220 million debenture fund. This approval fell to 79 per cent 12 months later.

Sydney-based The Trust Company — which declined to speak to The Advertiser — last year recommended that investors vote against an extension.

“We have no confidence in Angas’ forecasts,” it claimed.

A year earlier, in August 2015, around 90 per cent of investors backed Angas to retain control. That number fell to 79 per cent in 2016.

There was concern among investors last year that a “fire sale” of assets would occur if a receiver was appointed.

Few expected to see all of what they are owed, regardless of who controlled the fund.

Angas last year conceded that there were risks to a repayment of 100 cents in the dollar and these “haven’t changed” since that time, Mr Luckhurst-Smith said.

He said the most recent analysis of assets showed Angas was “still in the black” and that he was “carefully considering” opening up the fund’s asset book for scrutiny.

“It’s something we will look at, in terms of preparing the (meeting’s) explanatory memorandum,” he said.

Mr Luckhurst-Smith was noncommittal to procuring a fresh set of property valuations.

“The market will tell you what they’re worth; valuers don’t buy properties,” he said.

The most high profile and valuable Angas asset is the iconic Fernhill Estate west of Sydney.

Rookwood General Cemeteries Reserve Trust is currently conducting due diligence on the estate’s 384 hectare central precinct, with a view to turning 40 per cent of that area into a cemetery. The remainder would be maintained as a heritage parkland.

If sold, Fernhill would generate an estimated $60 million for Angas, taking into account the estate, surrounding parcel of lands and bio-credit deals with the NSW Government.

Angas has also engaged Knight Frank to auction a portfolio of six residential development sites across four states on May 31. This includes Fernhill’s western and eastern precincts, and St Eyre Estate in Port Augusta. High net worth Asian investors are among those being targeted.

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